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Bonetti, Peter (1960-1979)

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Peter Bonetti (1960-1979)

Written by Geezer in December 2007

bonetti%20april%201960.gif Peter Bonetti is the reason I became a goalkeeper.

Those of you who are old enough may well remember those green cotton goalkeeper gloves endorsed by the great man himself. I would receive a pair every Xmas from my parents in the same fashion other people regularly got socks from their favourite Auntie. By today’s standards those gloves were pretty useless and were only good for taking out the sting of saving a well struck shot but to me they expressed a piece of the great man himself.

Now, some 35 years later I have a framed goalkeeper shirt signed by the great man hanging on a wall taking pride of place between my other shirts signed by the championship winning teams of our two recent triumphs such is the high regard I hold him with.

bonetti%20in%20training%201968.gif Peter Phillip Bonetti was born on 27/9/41 in Putney of Swiss parents who emigrated to England from the Alpine lakes of Italy. Chelsea signed him from the Reading Youth team after his mother had written to Ted Drake requesting a trial for her son. Peter made his debut at the tender age of 18 in April 1960 in a 3-0 home win over Manchester City after Reg Matthews and Bill Robertson were ruled out with injury. He quickly established himself as the number one choice and formed an integral part of the exciting young team managed by Tommy Docherty who went on to win the League Cup in 1964/65.

Being only 5’ 11” Peter was somewhat small by goalkeeping standards but he more than made up for this with his incredible agility and mobility that was to earn him the nickname of ‘the Cat’. Being small meant he wasn’t the strongest of kickers but he did possess an awesome throw, which would often see him picking out a player inside the opposition half with pinpoint accuracy. His agility also made for the remarkable sight of him out leaping much taller players to claim the numerous crosses that would be aimed hoping to exploit his lack of height.

saving%20from%20jack%20charlton%20in%201 Undoubtedly his most famous Chelsea moments came in the two epic FA Cup final games against Leeds in 1970. Peter’s heroics kept us in the first game and enabled us to force a replay. It was during the replay he took a clattering from one of the Leeds players effectively meaning he had to play the rest of the game on one leg. Shortly after receiving the injury Leeds scored however Peter went on to make some crucial saves to keep us in the game and ultimately help to win our very first FA cup.

As a result of an outstanding 1969/70 season Peter was runner up in the Football Writers Footballer of the Year award, an outstanding achievement for a goalkeeper. The following season saw Peter pick up a ECWC winners medal after a famous victory over Real Madrid in the final which also went to a replay. A League runners-up medal followed in season 1971/72 to go alongside the League Cup winners medal he won in 1964/65.

Sadly the club was to go rapidly into decline during the 70’s however Peter remained the number one goalkeeping choice despite strong pressure from John Phillips until finally calling it a day at the end of the 78/79 season. His career with Chelsea spanned 600 league games; 57 FA Cup games; 45 League Cup games and 26 European games making a total of 728 games.

bonetti%20with%20gordon%20banks%20prior% Sadly Peter played his football at the same time as the great Gordon Banks, which meant his England career was restricted to just 7 games culminating in the infamous 3-2 loss against West Germany in the World Cup of 1970.

It is well documented and known that Peter made a mistake for the first German goal however he has wrongly had to carry the can for the defeat ever since when the reality is the blame lay with Alf Ramsey for taking off Bobby Charlton and Alan Mullery who had dominated the midfield and nullified the threat of Franz Beckenbaur.

hudson%20and%20bonetti%20at%20ossies%20f Peter played some games for St Louis Stars in USA before moving to the Isle of Mull where he became a postman. He came out of retirement to join Dundee United for a short spell and then went on to become a goalkeeper coach at a number of clubs including Chelsea and was also briefly involved in the England set up. Even now, well into his 60's he still turns out in goal at charity events.

For me Peter Bonetti was the ultimate goalkeeping king during a golden era for British goalkeepers when they were viewed as the best in the world. What would England do for a goalkeeper of Peter Bonetti’s quality now?

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  • 2 years later...

Like many of us here I was priviliged to watch play for many seasons, unfortunately he was up against Banks who was probably one of the best goalkeepers in the world at the time..I too used to be given the famous green gloves, totally useless especially when wet..great nostalgic post by loz.

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Credit where credit is due. It was Geezer who wrote the article. All the articles in here as posts made by either myself or Mod as we created them however the articles themselves state at the start who wrote them.

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Credit where credit is due. It was Geezer who wrote the article. All the articles in here as posts made by either myself or Mod as we created them however the articles themselves state at the start who wrote them.

Credit to Geezer and others who made this and all other posts possible..

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Loved Bonetti. Always thought he was wrongly blamed for England's loss in the World Cup.

Watching the old video now, it's amazing how small he looks in goal compared to the giants who play keeper today. Back then he looked normal.

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As a newcomer I wasn't sure after posting if we were allowed to comment on this thread. Living in Scotland, obviously my chances of seeing Blues legends like this regularly are far fewer than most !

It annoys me that Peter Bonnetti was made a scapegoat for Englands 1970 defeat by West Germany.

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  • 4 months later...

A true world class goalkeeper, his agility and his " CAT " like reflexes, i saw Peter Bonetti in that fa cup final and he inspired me at school to play goalkeeper, as previously said above he was unfairly blamed for Englands misfortunes. For me he will always be the greatest goalkeeper that ever played, maybe i say that because he was my childhood idle but i stick by it.. THE CAT

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Back in the day i remember an ode written by a kid in one of the progs..I think it went something like this...ERM ERM....................................Peter Bonetti the greatest of all

jumps up and down to catch the ball

he dives on the ground as tho it were a mat

thats why they call him ..Peter the cat

he flies thru the air for a spectacular catch

with speed and adgility no one can match

so now you know its easy to see

thats why bonettis fantastic to me..........................and im aware moi that i added a d where no d should be

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